A group of local traders and business people who call themselves MR BIG (Market Rasen Business Improvement Group) made a bid for funding to help regenerate a Georgian town that has slipped into decline in recent years, with a dwindling market and a steep rise in vacant premises along its High St.
The bid was to secure a share of £1M of government money that will split between 12 winning towns. The competition was intense with a reported 370 towns battling it out and the deciding factor may well have been video submissions made by entrants to put their plans to Mary Portas, retail guru and Queen of Shops.
Market Rasen's production features a broad spread of local business owners and residents, and lays down a manifesto that centres around plans to re-instate the market at the centre of the town's community as well as its retail experience. The plan is full of innovative ideas about how new businesses can learn how to trade on the market, progress into a MR BIG retail unit, where they will be given a helping hand to learn retail skills, before progressing on to take premises of their own.
Founding member of MR BIG and local business woman, Sarah Lamballe explains the group's response to the news: 'We're absolutely over the moon that all of our hard work has paid off. We've managed to turn around a general attitude of apathy, into some really strong and positive belief that our town can be re-invigorated. Securing the funding really is the icing on the cake.'
The town recently proved this point. Whilst other towns awaited the results of the Portas Pilot with bated breath, MR BIG decided to have a go at putting some of its plans into action, creating a one-off Extraordinary Monday 'Pop-up' Market – taking ideas they'd seen Mary Portas herself talking about on TV. The result was a stand out success, with over 30 market stalls, food, arts and crafts and even local live musicians all taking part.
Sarah comments, 'We were determined to turn around our town with or without the Portas money, but now with this result, we can fast track our plans. We know that now the hard work begins in earnest to make sure Market Rasen realises its full potential.'
- Contact Name:
- Sarah Lamballe
- Founding Member
- Market Rasen Business Improvement Group
- Contact Email:
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- Contact Phone:
- 07974 194888
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